3 Minute Relaxation for Uncertain Times by Sarah Blair
If you are feeling stressed or anxious right now, you are not alone. There is a lot going on in the world, and it is difficult not to absorb any measure of these current events mentally, physically and emotionally. And while many things may be beyond our control, there IS something that we can do to cultivate more serenity in our lives – breathe.
The way that we breathe is intricately linked to our nervous systems – and can dictate whether we feel calm or on edge. By consciously slowing down our inhales and exhales, we can ease our bodies into what’s known as the parasympathetic response – also called the Rest, Digest & Repair response, in which our heart rates and thoughts slow down and our muscles relax.
Sound nice? Here is a brief breathing practice that you can use anytime, anywhere, to bring a feeling of peace to your day. Have a read through the following script first, and then give it a try on your own!
Find a comfortable position to rest. This could be lying down or seated. Take a few moments to release any tension from your body – yawn and circle your jaw, clench and unclench your fingers and toes, rotate your wrists and ankles, gently turn your head from side to side. Eventually, slow down these movements and find stillness. Close your eyes.
Take a full breath in through your nose, and release a deep, audible sigh out of your mouth. Repeat this 4-5 times as you begin to settle into your chosen position, and then let your breath flow in and out naturally, without effort or force.
Feel all of the parts of your body that are connected to the support underneath you. With each exhale allow yourself to get a little bit heavier, as if tension could melt away from your bones and down towards the floor. Soften your shoulders back and down; relax your jaw.
Bring your palms to your low abdomen as you focus your attention on your breath. Observe the rise and fall of your belly as you inhale and exhale, and how this expansion and contraction feels underneath your hands. Notice the pace of your breath (fast or slow?), the temperature of air as it hits the back of your throat (warm or cool?). Is your breath flowing smoothly or does it feel restricted in some way? There are no right or wrong answers – you are simply getting curious about your breath in this moment.
Slowly begin to deepen your breath for the count of 3, inhaling through your nose and breathing all the way down into your lower abdomen. When you reach the top of your breath, exhale just as slowly (if not slower!) – counting back down from 3 to 1. Repeat this for as long as you feel comfortable; if at any point your mind wanders, bring your attention back to the breath itself, and the counting up and down.
When you are ready to resume your day, let your breath return to its natural state – perhaps linger a moment or two with your eyes closed, noticing how you feel. This practice is yours to return to at any time that you feel overwhelmed, anxious or stressed. I hope you find it helpful!
When not at work with us as a full time Property Manager Assistant, Sarah also teaches yoga at a studio in James Bay. Thanks for the tips Sarah!